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Planet 51

Various Artists

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2009 | Decca Soundtracks

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Blindness

Uakti

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca Soundtracks

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10,000 BC

Harald Kloser

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca Soundtracks

Composed by the Austrian duo of Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander, the score to Roland Emmerich’s 2008 prehistoric blockbuster 10,000 BC presents tense orchestral pieces that reflect the fight-to-survive scenario of the movie. Standout tracks include the heavily percussive “Mannak Hunt,” the melancholy “I Was Not Brave,” and the thrilling “Not a God.” © TiVo
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Milk

Danny Elfman

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca Soundtracks

Sean Penn's accurate and award-winning portrayal of Harvey Milk (the first openly gay elected public figure who served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who was assassinated by fellow commissioner Dan White in 1978) in the film Milk features symphonic soundtrack music composed by Danny Elfman and a handful of popular songs that speak to how people of conscious choice and tolerance need to live together. The pieces Elfman has composed bear a strong resemblance to that of the minimalist music of Philip Glass, at times in melancholy preludes to dramatic circumstance, and eventually victory. A reserved mood is held throughout the film, as if anticipation of these breakthrough events is tempered by the feeling that battle lines are being drawn, and there are huge obstacles to overcome under a hopeful horizon. Elfman's music is at once serene, a bit ominous, foreboding, and marginally triumphant. The popular tunes signify a need to inform, accept, nurture, and encourage. It's interesting to note that the release of this film in 2008 coincided with the controversial vote on Proposition 8, a statute banning same-sex marriage in California. Of the actual soundtrack score by Elfman, you hear the hymnal quality of "Harvey's Theme," the stark romanticism of "The Kiss," the "calm before..." waltz "Vote Passes," the sighing "Weepy Donuts," and requiem-toned "Harvey's Last Day." Unmistakable echoes via the music of Glass come out in the piano/cello waltz "Main Titles," shifting leads from instruments during "Politics Is Theater," baleful "Proposition 6," more dramatic "Gay Rights Now!," and static counterpointed phrases of "The Debates." An electric-sounding jig, dour waltz, oom-pah-pah vocal, or flute creeps in, as well as pure symphonic horizons, space music, and the finale "Postscript," buzzing with marimba and vocals more in the Steve Reich style. Included is Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People," the perfect inclusive anthem. The Hues Corporation's "Rock the Boat" actually says "don't rock the boat," David Bowie's glam rock icon "Queen Bitch" represents the androgynous side, while the Swingle Singers contribute a vocalized la-la-la counterpoint version of Bach's Prelude No. 7 in E flat. The campy pop piano parlor rag Hello Hello by the Sopwith Camel is also included. For those who enjoy contemporary classical orchestra music, and a short stack of retro hits from the psychedelic '60s through the disco '70s, this soundtrack is a diverse backdrop to an important gay rights film that should appeal to many people, no matter your sexual orientation. You may also want to refer to Milk's biography by Randy Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street. © TiVo
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Bande Originale du film "Lust, Caution" (Ang Lee, 2008)

Alexandre Desplat

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca Soundtracks

French composer Alexandre Desplat, who took on an assignment to score a period Asian drama with The Painted Veil, returns to the same sort of milieu for director Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, set in Shanghai in the 1940s. Desplat has no interest in evoking traditional Chinese music; rather, his is a thoroughly European approach. He employs almost all strings and lots of them, adding only the occasional piano, his own flute, and "programming." This is slow, contemplative music with strong melodies, all contributing to a dark, romantic tone. Alain Planes' performance of Brahms' "Intermezzo in A-Major, Opus 118, No. 2" fits right in, and, surprisingly, Lee himself takes to the piano on "Nanjing Road." This is a restrained, low-key score for a film of mystery and naunced feeling. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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The Bourne Ultimatum

John Powell

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca Soundtracks

Composer John Powell elevates the tension he so dutifully created on 2004's Bourne Supremacy soundtrack for the third (and final?) chapter in the big screen adaptation of author Robert Ludlum's internationally lauded Jason Bourne series The Bourne Ultimatum. All of the deft melding of taut electronics and explosive orchestral release that made the previous installment the blueprint for the modern espionage score is utilized here, and while there is little in the way of any memorable new cues, the familiar staccato sounds that have accompanied Matt Damon's character throughout the series mimic the relentless pulse of the film and provides the listener with a much needed buoy amidst director Paul Greengrass' highly kinetic ocean of visual stimuli. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - A Veggietales Movie Soundtrack

Various Artists

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca Soundtracks

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Hollywoodland

Various Artists

Film Soundtracks - Released August 29, 2006 | Decca Soundtracks

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The Da Vinci Code

Hans Zimmer

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca Soundtracks

It is tempting to think that even Hans Zimmer, a composer who has written music for cinema projects large and small -- mostly large -- for decades, would be intimidated by the responsibility of composing an original soundtrack score for Ron Howard's film adaptation of Dan Brown's pulp fiction blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. Apparently not. While the music here holds some of Zimmer's trademark dynamic and textural tropes, it is remarkably fresh and expertly nuanced. The high degree of melancholy in the first three sections -- "Dies Maercurii I Maritus," "L'Espirit des Gabriel," and "The Paschal Spiral" -- creates a remarkably brooding tension and a speculative sense of foreboding. The first of these, "Dies Mercurii I Maritus," with its piano and hovering stings, does give way to a large pastoral theme a little over halfway through, but even it is re-introduced by eerie, sparse strings (Hugh Marsh's solo violin playing throughout is his highest achievement yet in a career full of them) before they begin to pulse with suspense. Even here, Zimmer holds some of his cards in check, because this theme gives way to more complex shades, colors, and emotions that don't so much resolve as lead the listener in further. The cues on "Fructus Gravis" that assert themselves about a minute in and carry it out on a swirl of strings, soprano voices and piano, provide for one of those moments in film scoring where the entire range of emotion and ambivalence is revealed. The longer pieces, the aforementioned "Dies Mercurii," "Ad Arcana," "Daniel's 9th Cipher," and "Rose of Arimathea" carry within them those necessary elements not simply to color the screen narrative, but to underscore its meaning, its emotional transference, its sense of confusion, terror, and the impending revelation of a truth long buried. The use of faux Gregorian chant here is ingenious; it never feels contrived or simply layered in for authenticity. It is a genuine creative force and pushes the music into the nooks and crannies where dimension is what makes texture and pace come together in an instructive and creative whole. While this is to be expected in the larger cues, it's often in the incidental music a score falters, loses its place inside the bigger themes, yet Zimmer's control and vision holds firm and carries the listener on a journey that not only points toward the film it illustrates, but one of deep resonance that borders on the spiritual. No matter what aural side projects are created as a cash-in, this original score will stand on its own and should -- if there is any critical or commercial justice -- become a classic. One does wonder what happened to the planned collaboration with Armenian duduk master Djivan Gasparyan, who isn't present, but it's a small question in the end. Bravo. © TiVo
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Scoop

Various Artists

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca Soundtracks

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The Ring/The Ring 2

Hans Zimmer

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Soundtracks

When the horror film The Ring, director Gore Verbinski's English-language remake of the Japanese movie Ringu, was released in October 2002, it was not thought to rate a soundtrack album. But $250 million in worldwide grosses later, that must have seemed like a mistaken decision, so DreamWorks Pictures and Decca Records made up for it with the appearance in March 2005 of this soundtrack album, which mixes music from both The Ring and The Ring Two (the latter film based on Ringu 2 and directed by Hideo Nakata, who directed both Ringu and Ringu 2, in his American debut). Hans Zimmer, who since 1994 has been one of the busiest film composers in the business, sometimes having as many as four movies in release in a year, is solely credited for the music of both films in those small-print credit lists printed in the paper and displayed in television commercials. But the album also lists two other musicians in equal-size typeface on the cover, Henning Lohner and Martin Tillman. Both have worked with Zimmer before, Lohner as an arranger and Tillman as a cellist. Inside the CD booklet, there are credits for "additional music" to James Dooley and Trevor Morris. All of this may suggest that, at least when it comes to the soundtrack album, Zimmer is willing to acknowledge that others make important creative contributions to his scores. Listening to the album, it seems appropriate that an arranger and a cellist get equal billing, if only because the arrangements seem to have a lot to do with the scoring, in terms of the expected moods of dread and suspense the music provokes and underlines, and because there's an awful lot of work for cello, as the lower strings carry much of the sound, sawing away in quick rhythmic patterns at what must be the most frightening moments onscreen. Appropriate to the horror film genre, the music is either very soft and slow, with minor-key, single-note piano melodies backed by sustained violin passages, or very loud and rhythmic, building up to thundering climaxes. The instrumentation changes radically at the ninth track, "She Never Sleeps," however, and the remaining four tracks all largely abandon orchestral instrumentation in favor of synthesizers and programming, some of it with a distinctly rock feel. Unlike the videotape that is supposed to kill its viewers in the films, the disc probably won't harm listeners, but they are liable to feel uneasy, and that of course is precisely the idea. © TiVo
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Bande Originale du Film "Broken Flowers" (Jim Jarmusch - 2005)

Various Artists

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Soundtracks

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King Kong

James Newton Howard

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Soundtracks

Composer James Newton Howard (Batman Begins, Sixth Sense, The Fugitive) has helmed his fair share of action films, but none as daunting as director Peter Jackson's gargantuan remake of King Kong. Not only was he rescoring the life and death of one of cinema's most beloved icons; he had to do it in less than two months. Longtime Jackson collaborator Howard Shore, who took home an Oscar for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, left Kong in a flurry of "creative differences" with the director, scoring just over an hour of material. Keeping that fact in mind, Howard's compositions are nothing short of remarkable. While they lack Shore's epic scope and his myriad of complex and highly melodic character cues, Howard manages to pinch-hit his way through with the confidence of a starting player. Using the Depression era as a launching pad, he deftly whips jazz motifs, thunderous brass sections, and wistful choirs into a stew of "silver screen"-meets-"blue screen" harmony that may not yield any memorable themes, but manages to illuminate the film's terror, humanity, and tragedy with irrefutable professionalism. © TiVo
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Cinderella Man

Thomas Newman

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Soundtracks

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Jarhead

Thomas Newman

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Soundtracks

Composer Thomas Newman has carved out a niche for himself with atmospheric scores that blend the traditional with cutting-edge technology, so it comes as no surprise that his work on director Sam Mendes' Gulf War drama Jarhead radiates with the kinetic energy of battle while mirroring its emotional complexities with regional instrumentation and thoughtful cues that reflect the human side of war. That said, Newman has chosen to orchestrate Desert Storm with a baton that's been dipped in Mendes' signature black humor, referencing techno, worldbeat, and even hip-hop within the confines of a traditional action score. Mendes, who along with Kathy Nelson executive produced the soundtrack, works contemporary pieces in by everyone from Bobby McFerrin ("Don't Worry Be Happy") to Public Enemy ("Fight the Power") with both a wink and a jibe, resulting in one of the more visceral collections of film music since the Dust Brothers' work on David Fincher's Fight Club. © TiVo
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Munich

John Williams

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Soundtracks

In his brief liner notes (really more of an appreciation), director Steven Spielberg points out that composer John Williams' score for Munich, Spielberg's film about Israeli attempts to track down and kill the Palestinians responsible for the massacre of Israel's 1972 Olympic team, is his fourth score of 2005, following Star Wars: Episode Three -- Revenge of the Sith, Spielberg's own War of the Worlds, and Memoirs of a Geisha. That's not a bad output for a man who also celebrated his 73rd birthday during the year. Pointing to the very different sorts of film the four titles represent, Spielberg calls Williams "a master of disguise," a composer able to serve the different needs of such varying subjects. Every film composer must have something of that versatility, though in fact Williams may have it less than most, as he is the closest thing to a traditional Hollywood composer still active. With Munich, he is put in an area that is very familiar to him, since the film is set in Europe, allowing him to draw upon his familiarity with and affection for European classical music. He employs a large orchestra, and for the most part he has written a conservative score for it to play. The one aspect of the project that is unusual is the film's darkness, beginning with the massacre and then following the increasingly problematic actions of those assigned to exact revenge. This does not allow for the kind of stirring, swashbuckling themes of a Star Wars movie. Rather, it involves minor keys, lots of low tones (no less than eight basses are used), and plenty of slow tempos. To make this tolerable, onscreen and on disc, Williams alternates the passages of dread with more romantic (but still sad) ones. Thus, the throbbing, percussive "Letter Bombs" is followed by "A Prayer for Peace," and other lyrical cues such as "Avner and Daphna" and "Avner's Theme" (the latter a solo for classical guitar) are interspersed with more jarring titles like "The Tarmac at Munich" and "Stalking Carl." But this remains a very dark score to accompany a dark film. © TiVo
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Vanity Fair

Mychael Danna

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca Soundtracks

William Makepeace Thackeray's satire Vanity Fair (first published in magazine installments, 1874-78) is a "Novel Without a Hero," as its subtitle proclaims, but it is not without a villain who has her reasons: Becky Sharp is a young woman lacking a fortune or a position in British society in the first half of the 19th century and is forced to make her way on her wits while happily unencumbered by scruples or morals. She is, in Thackeray's view, the ideal person in a world full of hypocrisy and materialism. In a contemporary world she is scarcely less so. Director Mira Nair might have attempted a modern version for her film adaptation, but she chose instead to go back to the original setting and cast Reese Witherspoon as Sharp. That compels composer Mychael Danna to write music in the style of the day, which means orchestral scores with classical and romantic antecedents, as well as chamber music. She sets poems by Lord Byron and Alfred, Lord Tennyson to tunes and has them sung by Sissel and Custer LaRue, respectively. She references Beethoven and Haydn, and even flirts anachronistically with Tchaikovsky when she gets to the battle of Waterloo. There isn't much suggestion of Thackeray's social criticism, at least in the music; the composer seems to have concentrated on matching the scenery and the costumes. Toward the end, there are a couple of Indian songs, "El Salaam," by Hakim, and "Gori Re," sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma, that come as a surprise and seem out of place. © TiVo
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Van Helsing

Alan Silvestri

Film Soundtracks - Released May 4, 2004 | Decca Soundtracks

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The Terminal

John Williams

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca Soundtracks

Director Steven Spielberg keeps coming up with different kinds of films, and composer John Williams, with whom he has collaborated on 21 of them now, keeps finding appropriate musical settings. For The Terminal, a film about an Eastern European trapped in the international arrivals airport terminal in New York when his country erupts into civil war, Williams seems to have taken inspiration from the main character's origins and the film's lightly comic mood. His main theme for this character, "The Tale of Viktor Navorski," playfully recalls "The Third Man Theme," even if it is played on a clarinet most of the time. There is also a love theme for the bittersweet romance Navorski enters into, and that minor-key motive echoes such familiar tunes as "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and even the folk ballad "Barbara Allen." The soundtrack album is presented out of sequence from the film, and it is very much oriented to listening as opposed to simply mirroring the actions on screen. This makes it a better audio experience, with Williams' themes being developed and finished. But it in some ways does not reflect the movie accurately. In particular, the big payoff of the film turns out to be Navorski's purpose in coming to America, which is to get an autograph from jazz musician Benny Golson. Onscreen, we see and hear Golson, but he is not featured on the soundtrack album, which is a shame. © TiVo
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The Aviator - Original Score

Howard Shore

Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca Soundtracks